BBC drama Poldark was heavily criticised by viewers during last night’s episode.
In the controversial scene, Poldark (Aidan Turner) burst into Elizabeth's (Heida Reed) bedroom and demanded she cancel her wedding to his enemy, George Warleggan. She ordered him to leave but he forcefully kissed her twice despite her trying to push him away.
He then looked pointedly at the bed before Elizabeth said: ‘You will not dare. You will not dare.’ He replied: ‘I would Elizabeth. I would and so will you,’ before pushing her onto the bed where she appears to finally consent.
While the BBC, as promised, deviated from the original novel and did not show the moment Ross Poldark seemingly rapes her, many believe the adaptation was even more controversial.
The campaign group End Violence Against Women that said that it was handled it ‘in the worst way’ possible. They said it was ‘an irresponsible portrayal’ and that ‘they have made the representation of non-consensual sex ambiguous by making her appear to change her mind.’
However, Andrew Graham, the son of Poldark novelist Winston Graham, who was a consultant on the BBC's current screen adaptation, argued: ‘The only way to judge what my father intended is to read the novels as a whole.
‘Doing so it becomes clear, from earlier scenes as well as from Elizabeth's immediate reactions and later mixed emotions, that what finally happened was consensual sex born of long-term love and longing.’
The BBC has received 17 complaints about the scene at the time of writing.
Viewers responses were mixed but many viewed the scene and BBC’s handling of it negatively:
Wow, I couldn't think any less of this man. What an utter disappointment of a human being he turned out to be. — watching Poldark
— Lindsay Mead (@TheLindsayMead) October 24, 2016
— Dawn McQueen-Shaw (@madshaw) October 24, 2016
think the BBC really need to clue themselves up about what is considered 'consensual' and what is considered rape #poldark
— Marion Smith (@GoGoSuperMarion) October 24, 2016
— Elle de Burgh (@ElledeBurgh) October 23, 2016
A very ugly episode of #Poldark. That's me done with it
— Lyndsay Rodenhurst (@lyndsayjh) October 23, 2016